STAUNCH defence early and an impressive performance from a new-look forward pack were the keys for CSU on Saturday as they downed Ferguson Cup rival Mudgee 54-17.
Meeting for the first time since last year's qualifying final, CSU was expecting a stern test on the Wombats' home soil.
The opening exchanges were just that, but the students absorbed the pressure then countered as they laid the platform for their second win of season 2019.
"The first quarter they had most of the ball and they can really build phases, which is quite dangerous. But we held them out in the first quarter and got two tries ourselves," CSU coach Dom Huggett said
"Then we absolutely dominated in the second quarter - I think it was 40-0 by the end of the first half. Our forwards just really put it on and when our forwards are moving forward, they create a lot of room out wide for our backs to do stuff.
"It was good to see as Mudgee weren't that bad of a side at all ... if they'd scored early it could have been a different story.
"We haven't done much defensive line work yet, so I was really happy they could hold them out and put on some tries and get it done."
In the third quarter Huggett made some positional changes, but felt his side let their intensity and discipline drop off.
It saw Mudgee open their account, scoring 17 unanswered points in that period, but the students they responded to close out the match.
Though star back Claire Woolmington scored four tries, Huggett heaped most praise on his forward pack with second-rower Maddi Thomson especially impressive.
"Maddi, she played unreal, she hit it up hard, really opened up the gaps and got her job done well and truly," Huggett said.
"I was very impressed with our forwards. We've got a few new girls who can really run it and are not afraid.
"We've just been lucky with who have come this year, we've got some pretty solid and pretty athletic girls who just love playing footy - it's worked out really well."